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Regional press staff cover Soham trial

Just 53 press seats have been allocated to news organisations for the trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr at the Old Bailey.

They face charges relating to the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in what is expected to be a 12-week hearing.

The Grimsby Telegraph and Cambridge Evening News are the only two evening newspapers to be allocated seats, along with the weekly Ely Standard and Newmarket Journal.

Telegraph court reporter Mark Naylor is in London for the foreseeable future – the Telegraph is expecting to fill around seven pages with trial news tomorrow after the prosecution opens its case today.

He filed this copy to describe the massive media interest – and high security – that surrounded the first appearance of the Grimsby couple.


Dozens of camera crews and photographers – and scores of press, TV and radio reporters – thronged the entrance to the famous London court.

Barriers had been put up outside the Central Criminal Court ahead of the couple’s appearance for what will be one of the most intensely publicised trials in legal history.

Reporters covering the trial had to go through high-visibility airport-style security checks to get into the court.

The trial is taking place in the historic wood-panelled Court One, where entry is strictly controlled.

Because of the high level of media interest, news organisations had to apply for a place in the courtroom itself – and 53 seats, including one for the Grimsby Telegraph, have been allocated.

A number of court artists are among those being allowed in.

Another 40 places are being made available in a disused downstairs courtroom, being used as an overspill annexe for reporters. An audio-visual link is being provided from the courtroom.

National and international newspapers, TV and radio stations, and press agencies are among those clamouring to attend the trial.

The elegant Court One has been the setting for some famous trials over the decades and provides a highly atmospheric backdrop for the dramatic case about to unfold.

Lead prosecutor Richard Latham QC and his team will fill a row of seats immediately facing the jury.

Behind them will be Huntley’s team, headed by Stephen Coward QC, and further back, in the third row, will be Carr’s representatives, led by Michael Hubbard QC.

To their right is the formidable dock, where Huntley and Carr can gaze forwards towards the red-robed trial judge, Mr Justice Moses.

There is only limited space – mainly behind the dock – for the press corps and an even smaller number of seats are available in the overhead, public gallery, over-looking the jury box opposite.

The court and the surrounding area are steeped in legal history. One thing seems certain. The eagerly anticipated events in Court One over the next couple of months or so are certain to see compelling new chapters written in the history of the Old Bailey.

The assembled cohorts of the media and press will ensure that not a word is missed in the tale that is about to be told.

Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
e-mail pastill@nep.co.uk